Why should I trust the NRS Tier List? What do they offer that others don’t?
It’s understandable to be skeptical of our tier lists, especially because they frequently contradict the opinions of notable players in the community. However, we believe that our tier lists are more reliable than any other because of the extensive work put into ensuring the accuracy of every single match up.
Every tier list produced by the NRS Tier List is more comprehensive than any other of its kind
The NRSTL may not be perfect, but it’s the closest to perfect that anyone will get. Every tier list is a project to order characters based on match ups to provide an exhaustive perspective of the metagame and where characters stack against one another. To do so, each member is designated to represent a character such that every character in the game has at least one representative. This collective group is known as a character council.
Character representatives are tasked with the responsibility of gathering the knowledge of their respective character communities to compile a match up chart for their character. This means that the entire community of players for each character, from character specialists to top competitive players, contributes to the tier list by proxy of its representatives. In doing so, the match ups are evaluated with everything the top players know and more. Once the individual match up charts are constructed, they are combined and any inconsistencies in match ups are reconciled through a basic deliberation process. Because of the extensive process of constructing and combining match up charts, every match up is covered from the perspective of both characters, effectively balancing any extremes that could exist. That being said, the tier lists are updated frequently as the metagame develops.
While the tier lists of the NRSTL do incorporate the input of top players, every member of the character council is strictly limited to discussing match ups regardless of their status. This is distinct from the tier lists of top players, whose lists are influenced primarily by personal experience. You could argue that top players could be sharing their match ups with each other, thus giving a more detailed perspective of characters that they may not play. You would be right, but unless they do that for every character, cross check the lists to eliminate inconsistencies, and consult their respective character communities for match up knowledge they do not have, the resulting list will not match up to the comprehensiveness of that from the NRS Tier List.
No single person or even a small group would be able to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the cast of characters in a game. At best, they can speak with authority on the characters that they play. Let’s consider the Injustice 2 tier list of the Commandeur brothers, HoneyBee and Biohazard.
HoneyBee plays Flash, Starfire, Doctor Fate, and occasionally Captain Cold. Biohazard plays Bane, Starfire, Black Manta, Harley Quinn, and occasionally Deadshot. That means that the Commandeur brothers would be able to provide an in-depth analysis of 28 match ups and a one-sided analysis of 264 match ups. That comes to a total of 292 match ups that they can cover to some extent. Injustice 2 has 820 unique match ups, so their tier list covers 35.6% of the match ups. This is of course with the generous assumption that the Commandeur brothers have comprehensive knowledge of every match up for each of their characters.
The NRS Tier List is insulated from the politics of the FGC
The community of any fighting game comprises a wide variety of different ideas for where characters are placed. Top players frequently post their own tier lists, often using character popularity in tournaments as the justification for their ordering. Unfortunately, this kind of ordering is ambiguous at best. In some cases, it’s even unscrupulous. Top competitive players like SonicFox have been known to intentionally mislead the community in hopes of getting buffs or nerfs for certain characters. Despite this, their status as top competitors allows them to push their ideas to the forefront.
The Commandeur brothers’ tier list demonstrates that they are not immune from the politics of the FGC as they have Captain Cold in their top 10, an opinion that SonicFox was proudly proclaiming at the time. It’s apparent that the Commandeur brothers’ status as top competitors doesn’t magically give them knowledge of match ups for characters that they do not play. It does not make sense to trust them to know about the Red Hood versus Gorilla Grodd match up. It would be akin to trusting a neurosurgeon to perform open heart surgery on you because he is one of the best neurosurgeons in the world.
There is one likely reason why some top players don’t want to acknowledge the legitimacy of the NRSTL: the resulting order does not match up with that of their own tier lists. In the case of Injustice 2, they typically dismiss the idea that Wonder Woman is top 10 and Black Adam is not top 5 (Wonder Woman is #3 and Black Adam is #8 at the time of writing). This is likely because they see many Black Adam players but very little Wonder Woman players, leaving them less aware of Wonder Woman’s capabilities.
The NRS Tier List is devoted to providing the most accurate perspective of the metagame regardless of the backlash it may receive. In fact, we welcome the backlash. If you believe that a match up is listed incorrectly, tell us why. If we are wrong, we want to be proven wrong.
Unlike the creators of rogue tier lists spouting popular opinions, we have a clear-cut methodology for ordering characters and no ulterior motive.